French-owned Artprice, the art information and price database website, will launch its online auctions in a competitive market space this month.
Online auction service will commence on January 18, according to a company release. Previews of upcoming lots will begin on January 9.
Artprice reports it has 1.3 million members in more than 90 countries, and several thousand lots are already uploaded for auctions.
The company says the new enterprise not only represents a "dematerialised art auction environment," outside the realm of the major bricks-and-mortar auction houses, but also that the online auctions will be "beneficial to France" which has been slipping behind in art sales volumes for decades.
France now ranks fourth in the world for art transactions, behind China, the U.S., and the U.K.
Artprice will offer a 100% guarantee of security and payment for parties in all transactions through a partnership with Escrow.com, according to the company statement.
Commission rates are low, decreasing from 9% to 5% depending on the value (in USD) of the transaction: 9% from 0 to 7,500 dollars; 7% from 7,500.01 to 15,000 dollars and 5% for transactions over 15,000.01 dollars.
Artprice will be competing with already established online auction providers such as artnet and Liveauctioneers as well as traditional auction houses with online bidding capabilites.
An estimated $80 billion in art was traded in 2011, reports Skates.